Tuesday April 23, 2024

Two prayer leaders among six killed in sectarian attacks within an hour

By Salis bin Perwaiz
November 05, 2016

Same target killers strike in three areas of the city;

victims include three ASWJ supporters

Terrorists once again struck in the city, killing six people, including three supporters of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), in three shootings within an hour on Friday.

Two prayer leaders were among the victims of the sectarian attacks, which took place about a week after gunmen shot dead five members of the Shia community at a majlis, which was being held in a house in Nazimabad No. 4.

Friday’s first drive-by shooting occurred near Fatima Bai Hospital in the Patel Para area, where a gunman riding pillion on a motorcycle fired gunshots at two persons, injuring Mohammed Amin and Abdul Basit. Both men later died at Civil Hospital Karachi from wounds to their faces and torsos. 

Station House Officer (SHO) Inaam Jonejo of Jamshed Quarters Police Station said the hitman used a 9mm pistol in the attack. He said police attended the crime scene and collected evidence, including spent bullet shells.

Investigators said the victims were residents of the Hub Chowki area and had come to Karachi to attend a procession. He said the attack appeared to be sectarian in nature.

The target killers then drove to District Central and opened fire on a pesh imam near Hyderi Market in North Nazimabad. Pesh imam Shafiqur Rehman was feeding pigeons when the one of the gunmen shot him in the head before the two sped off.  

Station House Officer (SHO) Zulfikar Haider of Hyderi Police Station said a police mobile immediately moved to the spot and carried the prayer leader to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), where he succumbed to his injuries.

The victim had been a resident of Al-Hamrah Apartments for the past three years. He was the pesh imam of the mosque at the residential compound. The deceased hailed from Muzaffargarh, Punjab. Investigators termed his murder a target killing. 

A short while later, another pesh imam and two students were shot and injured near Shafiq Morr in North Karachi. The injured, identified as Maulana Usman Hyderi, 30, Mohammed Yaqoob 25, and Shahid Rafiq, 30, were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where they passed away. They had suffered wounds to their heads and torsos.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muqadas Haider of District Central said Maulana Hyderi, along with some other people, had come to North Karachi to attend a procession. 

After attending the procession, he said, Maulana Usman and his students, all supporters of the ASWJ, were returning on a motorcycle when two men riding a motorcycle and wearing helmets fired multiple gunshots at them near Shafiq Morr.

The attackers used a 9mm pistol in the offence and five spent bullet shells were found at the crime scene. The bullet shells were sent to the forensic division of the Sindh Police.

SSP Haider said Maulana Hyderi was the pesh imam of the Aftab Sufa Masjid, situated in Block 8 of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, where the three men lived.

He said initial investigations showed that the same weapon had been used in the attacks. He added that they were checking CCTV footage and would soon carry out raids to arrest the culprits. 

Sindh Counter Terrorism Department Incharge Raja Umer Khattab said it was early to confirm the involvement of any group, but the modus operandi of the attackers indicated that a new group of two to three men had been formed and it was carrying out the attacks.

On a query, he said sectarian killings would continue because of religious differences. He added that such killings could be controlled if hate speech CDs were removed from markets. He said the task was difficult and it would take a long time to address the situation.


Action ordered

Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khowaja directed the DIGs of East, West and South zones to ensure enhanced police patrolling and extensive snap checking in their areas. 

The DIGs were further told to take measures to arrest the culprits involved in the latest incidents of target killings in Karachi. 

According to the spokesman for the Sindh Police, senior superintends of police will supervise the security affairs in areas where the sectarian attacks had taken place.

The SSPs would take action on the basis of confidential reports of intelligence agencies to pre-empt sabotage activities by anti-peace elements, he said.